Prior to kids, it was easy for my husband to get in 18 holes of golf and for me, I actually had a weekly gig at Theodore Wirth Golf Course in Minneapolis for 9 with the girls on Wednesday nights. After kids, the time commitment and expense of golf, tapered our ability to play quite a bit. Golf just did not happen due to many other priorities. I accepted this for years.
There milestones in a parent’s life when the kids are maturing that allow you to get some of your former life and self back. And it’s even better if it’s an activity you can do as a family, as we recently discovered on a golf outing with kids 8 and nearly 6. And my perspective, I can focus my energy on improving their game and not fretting so much over mine.
Ava, my now 8-yr-old, got her first set of clubs at age 4. We started with some practice at the range during the first summer – it was probably a five time occurrence. We also played some mini-golf, a confidence builder. By age 5, we took her out on the course to ride with us a few times. After teeing off and putting on the first 3 holes, it became less fun (I assured her I could sympathize). We always rented a cart, even though the past me preferred to walk. We gave her jobs like ball washing and keeping score. This continued over the next few summers to present. Often, we’d gauge the mood of the kids and if weather looked good and spirits were positive, we’d call up Hiawatha Golf Course and see how quickly we could jump on there. We also checked out Braemar’s Executive Nine in Edina. We never had an issue doing this.
We hadn’t considered golf lessons for either quite yet and have not wanted to force their play – just expose them to it, make it fun and hope they join in. On a March trip to Scottsdale, AZ, on our family vacation, I wondered how they would withstand a group golf outing in the desert with snakes and the like. My husband, Chad, had not a worry about this and scouted out Troon North Golf Course in Scottsdale. Just for signing up for their free membership, our entire family received a free round of golf (twilight hour play required), complete with fancy clubs for the kids and carts. (I am still on their email newsletter list and wish we could go again).
I was optimistic. I hadn’t picked up clubs in quite a while. The kids were a bit restless, possibly over-tiredness from vacationing. Whatever it was, talking in the back swing, sauntering up into your swing-range, all made it difficult for me to concentrate this round. The scenery and togetherness made up for it.
It used to be Chad and I driving the idea – let’s go golfing! C’Mon, it’ll be fun! As of this last Thursday, our family now had a new member championing for golf: Calvin, my soon-to-be 6-yr-old. He anticipated our two day trip to Luck to visit Grandma and made sure his clubs made it into the trunk, even if they were the ones inherited from his sister. After his dad played 36 on Thursday, Calvin had his work cut out for him, convincing us that we should go.
Calvin won out. We got a 12:45 tee time set at the Luck Golf Course in Luck, WI, finished up lunch and off we went. Ava, was a bit unsure if she really wanted to go. Grandma kindly offered to come pick her up if it got intolerable. Green fees are weekly rates until 5:00p.m. on Fridays and with a grown-up, kids golf for free. We got carts. We were all set. Ava took out her journal and began writing, her head not quite in the game. Prior to teeing off on hole #1, she wanted to speed-dial Grandma.
Calvin was ready to take on the course with a no whining attitude I was convinced would end mid-round. He insisted on hitting every shot, not just off the tee and close to the green. I admired the speed with which he ran from one short distance shot to the next. A few times, looking a little annoyed to have to remind us not to talk during his back swing.
At the conclusion of hole #3, Grandma conveniently pulled up and whisked Ava away. I’m not sure what was going on, but I know you can’t always force a good attitude on the golf course. The three of us happily continued on. It was a beautiful day with a nice breeze, no pesky bugs either. Calvin’s determination carried him through the next six and seeing some of my shortfalls might have been a boost for him. The video I shot was one of two only. He asked me to take it, so he could work on improving his swing. And for the record, we challenged him to make it in on the #9 par 3 in 10. He did.
To top it off, uncle Jay solved the shared club issue with a set of hand-me down clubs in great shape for kids 6-9 versus the other clubs for kids 3-6. I’m hoping for more positive family golf outings this summer – for both kids and adults -because we know that golf is a game of patience that definitely builds character. See you on the city (and Luck) courses!
To watch: rotate your head 90 degrees counterclockwise.